ERIN ELMORE: Utah signs law restricting DEI initiatives in universities and government

Utah Governor Spencer Cox has signed a law that aims to drawback certain diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in the state government and at educational institutions. The law, referred to as the Equal Opportunity Initiatives, was signed into effect on Tuesday.

Under the new law, the state government and college universities are prohibited from giving preferential treatment to employees based on a person’s race or identity, categorizing such actions as “prohibited discriminatory practices.” Universities will also be barred from establishing diversity offices and are prohibited from mandating employees to submit statements of commitment to DEI programs.

The legislation also prohibits training sessions that convey the superiority of certain personal identities over others or propagate the idea that “meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist.” It further restricts programs that foster resentment based on personal identity characteristics.

Universities in Utah that violate this new law may have their state funding withheld, according to the bill.

“We’ve been concerned about some DEI programs and policies, particularly with hiring practices, and this bill offers a balanced solution,” Governor Cox said in a statement.

Governor Cox emphasized that Utah’s new law is not an all-out ban on DEI programs like other states have implemented. Instead, Utah is now making these programs and resources available for all students, not just students of a particular race or identity.

“I’m grateful to the Legislature for not following the lead of other states that simply eliminated DEI funding with no alternative path for students who may be struggling,” Cox explained. “Instead, this funding will be repurposed to help all Utah students succeed regardless of their background.”

Utah’s latest legislation follows a number of conservative states that have implemented laws that push back against radical DEI initiatives. In the last year, conservatives in at least 17 states have proposed legislation aimed at restricting or requiring the public disclosure of DEI initiatives.

This piece first appeared at TPUSA.


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